The summer of festivals and events starts here


As 2022 sees the welcome return of many popular festivals in and around Tunbridge Wells, The Times takes a look at some of the events that should keep us entertained…

Take action with the South of England Agricultural Show

THIS month marks the start of an eventful year. Kicking off at Ardingly Exhibition Center in East Sussex on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 April, Spring Live is set to return.

The two-day event will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and is packed with animals, activities, experiences and fun for the whole family.

The South of England Agricultural Society is a registered charity, and the weekend is also an opportunity to find out how it funds local projects and supports education and learning in the countryside.

The weekend event is expected to feature live and interactive entertainment and thanks to the easing of Covid restrictions, this year will see the welcome return of ‘must try’ activities such as archery and throwing of axes.

There will also be a multitude of shopping stalls and a food hall filled with artisanal delicacies from local and independent producers.

Younger visitors can learn directly from the owners about a range of animals from barnyard favorites to reptiles and amphibians.

Children will also have the opportunity to take part in chocolate workshops and baguette-making sessions, experience the thrill of the fairground and much more.

The whole family can experience activities such as Morris Dancing, circus workshops, a fun dog show for four-legged visitors, the ever-popular sheep show and even clog dancing.

For those with a green thumb, there will be stands of nursery and gardening equipment, as well as a new Q&A session format for gardeners to get top tips from the experts.

Additionally, breeders from across the country will be competing and showcasing their Huacaya and Suri alpacas, the Countryside Hub will be on hand to provide Countryside Code information, there is a “Giant Petal Globe” for photo ops, flower arrangement workshops and much more!

Corrie Ince, show manager at the South of England Agricultural Society, said: “Spring Live! is a perfect way to get out and celebrate the arrival of spring.

“Although the pandemic has stopped a lot of things over the past two years, it has made people appreciate the campaign.

“For those who have never attended one of our shows, they will be able to learn more about the countryside and its industries. It also allows us to bring together producers and independent companies who work tirelessly to produce high quality goods.

“The safety of our Spring Live! visitors remains paramount. We will continue to adhere to all Covid-19 regulations and limit the number of people visiting our site which has been rated ‘Good to Go’ by Visit England.

“On behalf of the Society, we really look forward to welcoming new and seasoned visitors to the show grounds and bringing people together around a shared love of the English spring.”

For everyone’s protection at the event, tickets to Spring Live! 2022 will be limited and must be booked prior to arrival to guarantee entry.

Tickets are available from and cost £12.60 for adults, £10.80 for seniors/students (including 10% online discount until 15.04.21) – under 16 years are free (suggested donation of £2 for children aged 5-15).

Dogs are welcome although they are not allowed in the interior spaces.

Bookworms are spoiled for choice as another literary festival takes place next month

Hot on the heels of the announcement earlier this year that Tunbridge Wells will host its first Literary Festival coinciding with the opening of the town’s Amelia Cultural Center at the end of this month, another Literary Festival is taking place at the same time.

The Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival in Edenbridge takes place during the first bank holiday weekend in May, from Saturday 30 April to Tuesday 3 May.

Internationally and locally renowned authors and illustrators will be joined by hundreds of happy guests in the historic and beautiful surroundings of Chiddingstone Castle.

On Saturday evening, Chiddingstone Hoath, at the kind invitation of Rupert and Catherine Fleming, will offer a unique opportunity to meet some of the authors over a glass of wine and canapes, followed by a two-day program of authors including two very special family events that take place on Sundays.

Guests are encouraged to visit the castle collections, explore the grounds, visit the tea room and picnic in the garden between events at no extra cost, making this the perfect vacation plan for families and bibliophiles.

On Tuesday, May 3, festival organizers put on a wonderful children’s writers and performers program especially for local schools (reception to grade 7) with tickets already on sale.

Lions spring into action with their Tonbridge party and dog show

The Tonbridge Lions Club is hosting a community party and fun dog show later this year.

The charity has the support of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council for the event which takes place at Tonbridge Castle on June 12.

Unlike previous parties organized by the Lions, there will be no procession on the main street this year.

But the community party and fun dog show will start at noon on the castle lawn and along the castle promenade, providing an array of activities for the whole afternoon.

There will be the usual stalls and side shows, including a Kiddies Corner with a magician and children’s entertainer. In the main arena, an entertaining selection of acts will perform throughout the afternoon.

This year for the first time there will be a Fun Dog Show along Castle Walk with four classes, pay £2 per class day.

If you are interested in having a 3m x 3m booth for your business, charity or association or have an attraction that would be suitable for a family event, there are still a few places available, please email [email protected]

All proceeds from the community party and fun dog show will benefit local charities and organizations.


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